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Are fish attracted to light

Postby mchackan » Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:00 am

Hello my 4th grader would like to conduct a science project involving gold fish. We are trying to find a way to present the science project idea to her teacher so that it will be accepted. Is there a project guide for the hypothesis that fish are attracted to light? I emailed her a teacher about it but she said she was concerned with the variables. Please help.

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Re: Are fish attracted to light

Postby tznunu » Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:23 pm


Science Buddies unfortunately does not have a project guide for testing a fish's attraction to light. However, there is a guide for a similar project involving moths. (Here is the link: ... p059.shtml) You can modify this project to test fish instead of moths. Since the above project tests moths' reactions to different colors of light, you could do the same to fish and see if they are attracted to one color.

As for variables, you can find more information about them here: ... bles.shtml

I hope that helps! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
~Tiffany Z.

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Re: Are fish attracted to light

Postby heloise » Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:07 am


It is great that your 4th grader is interested in doing scientific experiments.

Here are a few additional comments to the ones the first expert already stated:
1. there is no easy experimental set up that comes to my mind to test with goldfish the hypothesis that fish would be attracted to light. The way I can think about it, you would have to monitor the fish's movements in complete darkness (which is not that trivial) compared to conditions where there is a light source.
2. If your 4th grader is interested in working with goldfish, you should know that he will have to get permission (goldfish are vertebrates). This is another good reason to discuss the project with the teacher.
3. If this issue is cleared, here are a few links for project science that can be set up more easily with goldfish: ... p031.shtml ... hor1711938

Please don't hesitate to ask more questions!


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Re: Are fish attracted to light

Postby davidtilghman » Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:03 am

They may not be attracted to light itself, they may be using the light as a navigational aid. A fish can use the Moon as a navigational aid at night by swimming at a constant angle to it. But if it something much closer, like a lantern, and its direction of travel has any component towards the lantern it will spiral in on it.

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